Contingency

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed…er, mid-last week:

Governor Walz is set to announce a state-wide mask order.  It’s
necessary, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus.  He hasn’t said so
yet, but he’ll be cancelling the elections soon.

Why?  Isn’t it obvious?  If the Covid-19 virus is so deadly that we must
wear masks at all times, even standing in line outside a store with the
breeze blowing, then surely it’s so deadly that we cannot stand in line
outside a polling place with the breeze blowing.

Unless . . . maybe voting is like rioting?  Maybe the virus doesn’t
spread during voting the way it spreads during singing, for example in
church, and more like the way it doesn’t spread during shouting, for
example at protests.

Anyway, it’s too late now to switch to on-line voting or mail-in
ballots.  And despite the endless tinkering with the dials to perpetuate
the terror, the DNC’s internal polling numbers show Trump doing
surprisingly well in Minnesota.  Voters simply aren’t blaming Trump for
Walz’ actions.

No, there’s just too much risk.  We can’t take the chance of something
going disastrously wrong.

The elections are canceled.

Joe Doakes

Who needs elections when we have hundreds of thousands of fraudulent registrations to do our voting for us?

Loose

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It annoys me when writers are carefree with their words.  As Mark Twain pointed out: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”


This article starts out saying: “So when a crisis of the magnitude of the COVID-19 global pandemic forces restaurants to close, and their revenue drops to zero overnight, things get particularly dire.”

Except it didn’t.  Covid was not the cause, Covid was the excuse.  Restaurants were closed by the government and remain closed to various degrees in various states because of politicians

There is no evidence bar patrons in Wisconsin (wide open) are dying in greater numbers than Minnesota (some controls) or California (total ban).  Same virus, diffferent government, different revenue loss,

Okay, it’s nit picking.  I get that.  But still, blaming your restaurant woes on a virus is a conceptual error.  It’s not the virus’ fault.  It’s the Governor’s fault.  And we must not forget that because there is always an excuse to take away your rights, if we’re willing to let them.

Joe Doakes

Most journalists – including some NPR “science correspondents” – can’t discern cause and effect, or correlation and causation, much less the finer points of science.

Governor Waaaaaaaahlz

Governor Walz, during his presser yesterday:

And yet, somehow, the four states surrounding us, with the same exact federal government, managed to avoid a complete slaughter in their long-term care facilities.

Weird.

Y’know what’d be cool?

If we had some institution that’d probe a little further with the Governor on questions like this.

Perhaps an institution with printing presses and transmitters. Staffed by people who see themselves as a monastic cult of truth-seekers1

Naaah. That’s just crazy talk.

Also – if all the specifics of the state’s Covid response depend on federal action, then there’s really no need for the Governor to maintain emergency powers, is there? Tangent – isn’t that a curious combination? Decisively seizing emergency power, and then whining about how he as no…power?

1 All due respect to Tom Hauser, who seems to be the closest thing the Twin CIties media has to a genuine journalist.

This Is Our Ruling Class

My MN House rep, Rena Moran, on Twitter yesterday:

The part Rep. Moran is missing, of course, is that Florida has over four times as many people as Minnesota has.

And that when you look in terms of fatalties per million people, it boils down (as of today) to:

  • Minnesota: 276 fatalities per million
  • Florida: 210 fatalities per million.

Now – does Rep. Moran truly not know the different between raw numbers and per capita numbers?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But the typical DFL voter, be they in the Midway or Wayzata, certainly does not.

The Triumph Of Karen’s Will

While browsing about for thought material the other day, I tripped across this:

“… The higher the proportion of infectious diseases, the greater the trend towards totalitarian politics at the local level“.

Huh.

Presented without any conscious reference to any state or local government, or legions of fear driven, but supremely entitled, Karens or anything like that.

Perish the thought.

Endless Emergency

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz extended the Peacetime Emergency for another thirty days by Executive Order 20-78.  This extension ends August 12, 2020, after which it can be renewed again.

The justification for the extension is the increasing number of Covid cases in Minnesota. “On May 12, 2020, Minnesota had over 12,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with over 1,700 hospitalizations and over 600 fatalities. Minnesota has now had over 42,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with over 4,300 hospitalizations and over 1,500 fatalities.”

The Governor notes his authority ends if both houses of the Legislature over-ride it and he’s called a Second Special Session for them to consider it, but if they don’t over-ride him, then he’ll have the power to continue extending indefinitely, 30 days at a time.  

The Order says his acts have been science-based but does not mention that the total number of fatalities (1,500) is a tiny fraction of the projected number under the most strict scenario, the one we’re following (50,000).  There is no explanation why the science failed so badly, or why neighboring states with no restrictions have results equal to or better than Minnesota’s results.

The Order notes the virus is spreading in Minnesota and other states, but does not note the difference between “cases” and “serious cases” or “fatalities. Using the Governor’s figures, 90% of the “cases” are asymptomatic or have symptoms so trivial they didn’t require medical attention, much less ICU beds, ventilators or an $8 million refrigerated warehouse to store the corpses just North of the Capitol (the former Bix Foods building, which cost $7 to purchase but it was available for purchase because the state gave them a grant to move to Little Canada). 

The Order does not state victory conditions or cite scientific authority for any of the current or future restrictions.  Expect a state-wide mask order soon. 

Joe Doakes

It’s not an emergency. It’s an opportunity.

Open Letter To Governor Walz

To: Governor Walz
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: State Of Non-Emergency

Your Highness,

Your ongoing, and apparently endless, emergency declaration is, put mildly, draconian – especially if you’re in the private sector, especially an entrepreneur. You’ll notice that a sizable majority of people supporting the your most extreme quarantining provisions are public, non-profit or academic employees, students, or the retired. There’s a reason for that.

Now, we’re Americans. Most of our anscestors came here to escape tyranny – some petty, some very much not.

But for most of us in the private sector, “resisting” the worst excesses of your emergency measures is beyond our control or ability. Our businesses are shut down; trying to re-open leaves many of us open to getting ratted out to state licensing and permitting authorities on the government-sponsored snitch lines, which the “Karens” among our neighbors are all too happy to keep busy, thus making earning a living a risky venture.

Our jobs, our livelihoods, our social lives – especially those of us for whom “zoom calls” are no substitute for business or pleasure – are all on hold until events meet criteria that our Governor, in a display of abusiveness that would get him tossed in jail if he did it to his wife or kids, won’t tell us.

So what do we do?

History is dotted with ways in which people, deprived of all other means of hitting back at their oppressor, hit ’em anyway.

When Norway was occupied during the Second World War, Norwegians – the ones who couldn’t escape to the UK or into the mountains to carry on the battle – would draw a number “7”, or flash seven fingers at fellow citizens. It referred to Norway’s king, Håkon the 7th. It was a small, almost meaningless gesture – but it gave the people the feeling that they were doing…something, at least, that the occupier couldn’t control.

And so, I suspect, with masks. Minnesotans, their jobs reducing hours or cutting pay or just plain gone, their businesses gasping for air, their social lives and recreation limited to whatever’s in their houses, only as safe from retaliation as their least stable, least passive-aggressive “Karen” or “Chad” of a neighbor, are resisting with the only tool they have.

Their faces.

Work With Me, Here – And you know what? It didn’t have to be this way.

Been to stores that require masks? Many people gripe about it – but most people put ’em on.

I mean, I don’t personally care – I’ve already had Covid, and can neither catch nor spread the disease; I may as well wear a red rubber clown nose. But there IS a reason surgical staff wear them, too [1]

I have a hunch if Minnesota would have done it, given the right information and a choice, if the state had…:

a) Asked people, nicely, to wash their hands, stay home when sick, and put on a mask when around crowds, and

b) Foregone the whole “act like your scolding mother” and gone a lot lighter on the whole “emergency powers” thing

c) Focused the state’s efforts on protecting the vulnerable…

…things might have worked out a lot better.

Y’know – like they did in South Dakota.

Of course, that is all predicated on the notion that the state’s response was about mitigating the effects of Covid.

That is all.

[1] And no, people who get health problems from the minuscule amount of CO2 that gets trapped in their masks are about as common as people with actual Celiac disease (I’ll let our millennial readers shuffle uncomfortably and clear their throats).

The Minnesota Stasi

The state is going after Senator, and Doctor, Scott Jensen, for…

…well, counterrevolutionary activity, apparently:

Minnesota senator and medical physician Dr. Scott Jensen says he is under investigation by the Minnesota State Board of Medical Practice for allegedly spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Jensen revealed the investigation in a Facebook video on Sunday, saying the medical board is focusing on “reckless advice” he had given by comparing COVID-19 with the flu, as well as comments he made regarding CDC guidelines for the completion of death certificates in an interview with Fargo news broadcaster Chris Berg in April – which went viral.

“When I got this news, I was ticked,” Jensen, who is rumored to be considering a run for Minnesota governor as a Republican, said in the video, which has now been viewed one million times.

“If this could happen to me because of my views, it could happen to b ‘=, anybody,” he added.

Let’s sure we’ve got this straight;  the state’s bureaucracy is actively moving to squelch a prominent dissenter to Governor Walz’s incompetent, logrolling response to the pandemic.  

 

Blue Fragility, Part VIII: Unequal Risk

If you remember the 1980s, you might recall the early years of the AIDS epidemic. While it was clear fairly early on that the disease particularly targeted gay men and IV drug users (leading to the overnight extinction of what had been a fairly thriving “bathhouse” scene in Minneapolis), government health authorities kept hammering on the line that “anyone could catch it” and “nobody was immune”.

Which was, literally, epidemiologically the truth. Cases of children and suburban housewives coming down with AIDS got wide play in the media, to prove the point.

But eventually the world figured out AIDS was a blood-borne pathogen, spread by behaviors that transferred contaminated blood between people; sharing needles, inadvertent exposure to infected peoples’ blood, and various intimate practices that had a tendency to tear skin.

And so people learned. ER staff masked and goggled and gloved up. Condoms became mainstream. Cities gave out free needles – aggravating to law-and-order types, but it did help slash the infection rate.

Unsaid but unmistakeable? While anyone could get it, the odds moved greatly, almost completely, in one’s favor with a few minor behavioral and prophylactic practices.


So I was in North Dakota over the weekend, taking care of some family business.Here’s a county by county breakdown of the Covid situation in North Dakota as of this past Friday.as of this past Thursday.

Big Left tells us, in a tone usually reserved for devotional prayers and aspirational mantras, that Red America is going to get it. Covid is going to ravage the square states, they say, like a revival preacher winding stems on the Old Testament lesson. “We’re all in this together”, after all.

So let’s take a look at North Dakota’s numbers:

The red circles with white numbers are death counts.

Of the states 74 total Covid deaths as of last Thursday, 62 of them were in Cass County – which is Fargo. Four more were in Grand Forks County.

And, significantly, the counties containing North Dakota’s four Indian reservations – which, conventional wisdom here in the Twin Cities tells us, are the most vulnerable populations in the entire state outside of nursing homes – account for a grand total of six cases, and no deaths.

It’s not lack of testing, in this reddest of states; as of last week, North Dakota has the third highest test per million rate in the country, triple that in Minnesota.

Maybe it’s time to just cut the crap and admit that Covid – and most diseases that spread via aerosol transmission – are particularly transmissible by people breathing the same air, jammed into close quarters for extended times?

Nursing homes, of course – but also bars and restaurants, mass transit, open-plan offices, and other artifacts of high-density urban life?

That’d scotch the attractiveness of any “high density” social investments (the ones that aren’t already plummeting in the wake of this month’s rioting), of course…

…which would jeopardize the gravy train for a lot of transit consultants, urban nonprofiteers, insect farmers, public union employees and other big-state hangers-on.

Promises, Broken

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We were PROMISED 1,440 dead from Covid by the end of May and a huge surge in cases this Summer.  We’re not even close on deaths and there’s no evidence of a surge, here or anywhere else in the nation.  And hospitalizations are declining.

 
So is the Health Department admitting it was wrong, wrong, and wrong?   Of course not.  The linked article has several charts but notice the one that’s missing – the chart we saw in every press conference – the “flatten the curve” chart.  That’s because there never was a curve to flatten.  We never got close to overwhelming the system.  The epidemic was basically over before we noticed it. 
 
A million Minnesotans lost their jobs and we still can’t get back to normal.  For what? 
 
Joe Doakes
 
 

For the government’s power to exert…well power. That’s what.

Ken Martin And The Legion Of Smug

May 14: Ken Martin, chair of the DFL, makes a bold prediction and a really dumb statement:

Fast forward nearly a month: as of June 12, Wisconsin’s death rate per million is half that of Minnesota. Its active cases are a solid 40% lower than Minnesota’s.

And that was after Wisconsin started out “leading” Minnesota in both categories.

The problem?

I don’t suspect it’s that Ken Martin believed anything he wrote in his May 12 tweet (least of all about the useless and idiotic Steve Sack).

The problem is that Martin can count on his DFL voter base – bovine herd animals with the critical thinking skills of a Teen Vogue reader – to know the difference, or care if they can.

Count Down ‘Til The Moving Goalposts

Remember when the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor “Nanny” Evers’ lockdown?

And cheeseheads swarmed into bars, sans masks and social distancing, et avec about two months worth of socializing to catch up on?

Remember the carnage the Twin Cities’ media and Karen class predicted?

EIther will they, if they have anything to say about it:

There were 203 positives out of the total 7,589 test results, or 2.67%. That’s the fourth day in a row the rate was below 3%.

Testing had been above 10,000 daily since last Tuesday.

The state’s death toll is now 646. That’s down from Sunday’s report of 647; the state Department of Health Services (DHS) says a patient in Milwaukee County was counted twice.

The last time the state had no COVID-19 death reports was May 17.

I’ll bet a shiny new quarter that locked down (except for protesters) Minnesota gets and stays sicker than Wisconsin. 

And Iowa. 

And the Dakotas.  Both of ’em. 

And Florida. 

Any action on that bet, Progs?

When Government Imitates “The Onion”, The People Will Imitate “Babylon Bee”

North Carolina speedway declares its stock car race a “peaceful protest”:

A North Carolina speedway drew a crowd of more than 2,000 spectators in defiance of the state’s coronavirus restrictions after declaring the race a “protest.”

The governor’s office had warned Ace Speedway in Elon earlier this week that a crowd of more than 25 would violate the state’s Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions.

But news outletsreport that more than 2,000 attended a race Saturday night. A sign from management outside the speedway said, “This Event is held in Peaceful Protest of Injustice and Inequality Everywhere.”

That might be what I need to do to have that NARN Tenth Anniversary party.

Some Memorials Are More Equal Than Others

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My brother died one month ago today.  No funeral – they were illegal.  Covid. It was SCIENCE!

Then the Covid rules changed: we could have a 10-people funeral.  That wasn’t enough for both our side and the widow’s side of the family to attend.  No funeral.  SCIENCE!

Then the Covid rules changed again: we could have a funeral, 25% capacity, social distancing, masks for all.  SCIENCE!

We’re burying my brother tomorrow.  Afterwards, we’ve rented a picnic shelter in the park to eat box lunch, watch a tribute video and share memories.  Well, some of us are.  The picnic shelter is open on three sides but has roof and one wall so it’s considered a “structure.”  There’s a 10-person limit in the picnic shelter.  The rest of us must stand outside and take turns rotating through, with masks, and social distancing.  Because Covid, you know.  It’s SCIENCE!

I can’t help noticing the crowd at the George Floyd memorial.  Capacity, social distance, masks – whatever happened to all that Science? 

Maybe it’s like rock, paper, scissors: Fire burns Science; Fire wins.  Instead of following the rules like a good little boy, I should have burned down a Black neighborhood. 

I’ll keep that in mind.

Joe Doakes

Well, torching any low-income or immigrant neighborhood will actually do…

Open Question For “The Party Of Science”

To: Governor Walz and the Minnesota DFL
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant who passed College Biology
Re: Help me underdstand this

Governor Walz

So let me get this straight. According to you;

Covid19 is a lethal epidemic.

Attending protests to seek the re-opening of the state during the middle of the pandemic threatens grandma and, since “essential workers” will bear the brunt of any outbreak, likely racist as well.

But when one is attending mass demonstrations, even ones involving violence and property damage, against a politically-acceptable cause, or attending a funeral in a packed church full of un-masked people, it’s utterly acceptable from an epidemiological standpoint.

Unless there’s tear gas involved. Because then, Covid is a deadly pandemic.

Remembering, as always, that y’all are the “party of science”, not febrile superstition, yessireebob.

That is all.

Siege

For those who might be curious, I’m safe.

The neighborhood that has been my home for most of the last 33 years? Not so much. More on that later.

The cities that have been my home, and the place that I raised my family, for the last 35 years?

Lloyds Pharmacy, at Snelling in Minnehaha. My pharmacy for most of the last 30 years. Or what’s left of it, anyway.

We are in the worst possible hands.

Yesterday afternoon, I almost wrote that Mayor Frey’s press conference was the worst train wreck I have ever seen in public.

I would’ve spoken too soon.

The mayors 1:30 AM press conference last night…

… Well, words fail me. I come up with words for a living, and a hobby, and I’ve got nothing.

There is literally not the faintest shred of leadership under that perfectly coiffed hairdo of his.

Asked why he ordered the third precinct evacuated, he prattled something about the building being just a symbol – human lives are the important part. Why no reporter thought to follow up by asking “what about the lives that are being put in direct jeopardy by the complete turnover of the streets to the mob? What about the symbol you’re sending – that the police protection that is one of the few legitimate reasons to have a government, is being pulled out at the height of the crisis? Do you want to talk symbols, let’s talk symbols!”

The Menards, at University at Prior. There was apparently a minimal amount of looting, before police and security cleared the building. Front and loaders piled barricades made of lumberyard materials in front of the doors.

Naturally, nobody asked that.

But a reporter actually DID ask an incisive question, something the mayor clearly isn’t used to ever getting. “What’s the plan?“. The mayor responded, initially, with five seconds of deer in the headlights silence, before asking the reporter “plan for what?” like a junior high kid who’d forgotten this week was midterms, before starting “there’s a lot of pain out there…“ and another couple minutes of gibberish that didn’t even address, much less answer, the question.

Forget about the facts on the ground – if you are a resident of Minneapolis, that press conference should have you howling with anger. The feelings of the mob – not people demonstrating against police brutality, but the roving mass of thieves and provocateurs – are more important than your livelihoods, your lives.

Call it the tyranny of low expectations, but when I saw St. Paul police chief Todd Axtel‘s press conference I found myself almost happy to see a police chief saying “we’re not abandoning our city“. In normal times, I would say, dumbfounded, “what, do you want a cookie? That’s your job!“ We’ve seen today that you can’t take that for granted.

Part of me wants to apologize for former New Orleans Ray Nagin for calling him the worst mayor in the history of America in the wake of hurricane Katrina.

Anyway – curfew in effect.

This is how I curfew. Miscreants, take the hint.

“One Minnesota“ my ass.

———-

If you think this would be an opportune time to slip some virtue signaling about the justification for the rioters into the comments, think again.

Never Was

SCENE: Mitch BERG is standing at the east end of the Marshall Lake Bridge, looking through binoculars at the fires along East Lake Street. Absorbed, he doesn’t notice LEAKY THE BEAGLE – a superannuated dog wearing sunglasses and a fake mustache, and affecting a cheap version of a German accent – riding up behind him on a recumbent moped.

LEAKY: Muuurrrg!

BERG: (Turning around, not quite recognizing the dog) Huh. A dog on a recumbent moped – don’t see that every day.

LEAKY: You don’t remember me?

BERG: Can’t say as I do.

LEAKY: Zo you’re involved in zat “EssentialMN” vebsite und Facebook page? Ze one dedicated to reopening Minnezota at all costs?

BERG: No, it’s the one dedicated to re-opening Minnesota safely while saving the economy.

LEAKY: Ze group favors removing Govenor Walz!

BERG: Huh. Where did you read that?

LEAKY: On my blog, “Minnesota Dog Progressive”.

BERG: Never heard of it.

LEAKY: Sure you have.

BERG: Sorry. Nope.

LEAKY: Anyvay, ze owner, David Shtrom, wants to remove ze Governor.

BERG: Nah. He knows, as I do, that that’s just about impossible, under all but the most extreme circumstances. First you have to get the Supreme Court to agree that the Governor has done something to warrant removal – which is a high bar, and justifiably so, and harder still given that Walz hasn’t done anything that most other governors haven’t.

Then, you’ve got 90 days to get signatures from 25% of the people who voted in the last statewide election. That’s 625,000 valid signatures, which means more like 800,000, since not all signatures will be valid or unique.

Then, you go to a recall election, agains the full weight and power of the Metro DFL fraud machine and the in-the-bag media.

And if you “win”, then you get…

…Governor Peggy Flanagan…

(Looks at LEAKY, who is furiously humping a lamppost)

BERG: You’re a Flanagan fan?

(Time passes)

LEAKY: Well, zat’s not how I put it in my blog. In my blog, Shtrom is a vingnut pushing for removal of a governor, which is crazy.

BERG: Your what?

LEAKY: My blog, “Minnesota Progressive Dog”.

BERG: Never heard of it.

LEAKY: Sure you have. I’m huge. People respect me.

BERG: Clearly.

LEAKY: You must be a crazy wing nut too!

BERG: (Calmly pulls a hand-carved model ambulance, flings it down the street. LEAKY chases it – while BERG makes his escape.

And SCENE

Dense

“Red” states are 45% of the nation’s population – and about 21% of the nation’s Covid19 deaths (and 25% of the cases, as far as testing shows, although that’s a fuzzy numerator at best in many states, including Minnesota).

That leaves most of this epidemic’s carnage to the 100 most densely-populated counties – almost all of them “blue”. Indeed, Dallas and Houston – two of the only “red” major cities in the ocuntry – aren’t even in the top 100 metropolitan areas for infection rates.

And the red-state natives are getting restless (emphasis added):

“The cure is worse than the disease, no doubt,” said Mark Henry, a Republican who oversees the Galveston County government in southeast Texas. “There are businesses that were shut down that are never going to open again.”

In the country as a whole, outbreaks in conservative rural counties are rising, but not on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties.

Overall, the infection rate is 1.7 times as high in the most urban areas of the country compared with nearby suburbs, and 2.3 times as high in the suburbs as in exurban and rural areas.

That bolded bit is kinda key. The more incendiary, less filtered parts of the Blue commentariat are openly predicting – “hoping” and “praying to the God they don’t believe in” might be more like it – that the impudent Reds get their comeuppance, like some Biblical penitence for disbelieving. It’s the mirror image of the fundie crones who are saying the plague is God’s vengeance on the cities…

…except that the Blue scolds have an actual platform and audience.

Minnesota Is Finally Number 1

Minnesota has the highest share of long-term-care residents as fatalities of any state in the union. So we’re finally champs at something.

And looking at the numbers in that spreadsheet, it’s beyond shocking – nearly ten percent of all ilong term care residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – the Blue Triangle of Death – have died in this pandemic.

Minnesota, thus far, has lost 2.8% of its nursing home population – the 14th-worst result in the US, thus far. That’s far, far above the death toll in the two states that are every Minnesota “progressive’s” favorite punch lines, Mississippi (1.9%) and Florida (1.5%).

The Dakotas – the two neighbor states that Minnesota Progressives just can’t stop bashing? Both tied in the bottom five – at 0.1% of the long term care population.

And while politicizing the results isn’t entirely fair or appropriate, it’s worth noting that the top 25 states in terms of deaths in long-term care are all “blue” states (with the exception of Louisiana, whose main population center and Covid hot spot is utterly dominated by the Democrats.

Great job, Walz-y.

Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Idle Question For Governor Walz

Question: why are tiny United Churches of Christ in small towns in southwestern Minnesota, the huge Cathedral of Saint Paul, and the sprawling Living Word Church which seats several thousand people several times every normal Sunday, all limited to 10 attendees?

What’s the ostensible “science” behind concluding fifty people on a restaurant patio – any restaurant patio – but the same limit holds for churches that seat 5,000 as 50?

Why, it’s almost as if Minnesota’s ongoing response to Covid has become so reflexively, un-scientifically, sclerotically unscientific and bureaucracy-driven that even the “elite” media is starting to take notice.

But you know what would be cool? If we had some group of people, perhaps working for companies that owned printing presses or transmitters, maybe even people who see themselves as heroic comforters of the afflicted and afflictors of the comfortable, who’d ask questions like this theselves.

Other than Tom Hauser, sometimes. .

Huh. I guess all this quarantining is making me delusional.

Make Minnesota Productive Again

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Since the Governor won’t let me go out to play, I’m spending my time at
home wisely.

I’m taking the on-line class to renew my Permit to Carry a Pistol. I’m
also shopping on-line for guns (to be shipped to my local FFL for
delivery) and stocking up on ammunition (to be shipped directly to my
doorstep).

Thanks, Governor. Just what I needed.

Joe Doakes

Do it while you can.

If the Democrats take the Senate and hold the House this fall, Minnesota will make Virginia look like Wyoming.

Blue Fragility, Part VI: Lysenkoism Vs. Actual Science!

Those of us who favor a safe, science-driven re-opening of the economy are frequently derided by the “shut down until ______” (fill in the blank du jour) crowd as either callous or ignorant.

But looking at examples of states that have managed to combine generally good public health outcomes with a relatively sane course on economic re-opening, two patterns emerge:

1) those paths tend to be steered by governors with experience in the private sector – the likes of Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Doug Burgum of North Dakota and especially Ron DeSantis of Florida) treat science as a way of finding the truth, as opposed it being a tool to coerce compliance.

2) The success tends to follow a parade of calumny in the “blue” media – followed by the media moving on to another story when none of the predictions pans out.

The response to Governor DeSantis’s plans early in the epidemic (the sky was going to fall!) and now (it didn’t!) is illustrative:

An irony of the national coverage of the coronavirus crisis is that at the same time DeSantis was being made into a villain, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was being elevated as a hero, even though the DeSantis approach to nursing homes was obviously superior to that of Cuomo. Florida went out of its way to get COVID-19-positive people out of nursing homes, while New York went out of its way to get them in, a policy now widely acknowledged to have been a debacle.

The media didn’t exactly have their eyes on the ball. “The day that the media had their first big freakout about Florida was March 15th,” DeSantis recalls, “which was, there were people on Clearwater Beach, and it was this big deal. That same day is when we signed the executive order to, one, ban visitation in the nursing homes, and two, ban the reintroduction of a COVID-positive patient back into a nursing home.”

DeSantis is bemused by the obsession with Florida’s beaches. When they opened in Jacksonville, it was a big national story, usually relayed with a dire tone. “Jacksonville has almost no COVID activity outside of a nursing-home context,” he says. “Their hospitalizations are down, ICU down since the beaches opened a month ago. And yet, nobody talks about it. It’s just like, ‘Okay, we just move on to the next target.’”

Perhaps more understandably, The Villages, the iconic senior community, was a focus of media worries. According to DeSantis, as of last weekend there hadn’t been a single resident of The Villages in the hospital for COVID-19 for about a week. At one point, the infection rate in The Villages was so low that state officials were worried that they were missing something. “So I got the University of Florida to do a study,” he says. “They did 1,200 asymptomatic seniors at The Villages, and not one of them came back positive, which was really incredible.”

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data, and trying to learn the lessons of other countries.

The “Red” states’ approaches (and to be fair, California’s) spared their states the carnage that befell New York’s nursing homes (and Minnesota’s, as well); a dispassionate, scientific approach to the data (as opposed to the governor’s desired conclusions, as in Minnesota) led them to protect their most vulnerable – in stark contrast to the policies of New York’s governor (and increasingly, Minnesota’s).

I’ve been calling this response “Blue Fragility” – the tendency of our society’s “gatekeepers” to lash out in anger and frustration at the realization that their version of “science” is as much about browbeating and logrolling people into submission as it is about systematic inquiry leading to knowledge. It helps deflect away from several fairly inescapable conclusions one might get from observing this pandemic:

  1. High density “blue city” urban lifestyles – like the Met Council is mandating in the Twin Cities – are not “resilient” against pandemics. High density living, transit-centered lifestyles, open plan offices, bars and restaurants are all hotbeds of contagion in a way that, at least anecdotally, lower-density areas – even as in Los Angeles as compared to New York – just don’t.
  2. When you mix science and politics, you don’t get scientific politics. You get politicized science – better known as “propaganda” and “logrolling”.

Blue Fragility is causing some shutdown proponents to “kill the messenger”; I had a prominent Saint Paul political operative tell me “small towns are going to get the s**t kicked out of them”, with an almost evangelical glee, like he was looking forward to watching all those MAGA-hatted bitter clingers’ suffereing.

And it prompts people to deflect away from the success story to, frankly, “dog bites dog” stories like this – where a “covid denier” who is quite visibly high risk of contracting the disease…contracts the disease. Surprise, surprise.

It’s easier to mock and taunt one’s opponent than engage them – when that’s all you’ve got.